Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open one day after reaching the fourth round with a victory on the night, three hours and 35 minutes against Dominik Koepfer of Germany. He was scheduled to face ninth seed Matteo Berrettini on Monday, but instead the Italian received a walkover in his first Roland Garros quarter-final.
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, Federer said he does not want to push his body so soon upon his return. “After two knee surgeries and more than a year of rehab, it’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too hard on my road to recovery,” he said. “I am delighted to have gotten three games under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on the court. “
The French Open marked Federer’s third tournament since his two surgeries last year and has been his most successful outing by a considerable margin. He had previously lost in his second game at the Qatar Open in February and in his first game at the Geneva Open this month.
In comparison, Federer’s grueling 7-6 (5) 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 7-5 victory against Koepfer, which ended at 12:44 am in a wet night session in front of no crowds, marked his third best-of-five-set win of the week. Reflecting on his win early Sunday morning, he said he had been surprised by his performances during the week and also noted that since his surgery he has yet to train as long as the length of his most recent match.
Federer’s retirement is not a surprise given that during his post-match press conference, he said that he had already been considering withdrawing from the tournament to protect his body during the grass season.
Throughout the clay season, Federer has frequently ruled out his chances of competing for the French Open title. He intends to peak at Wimbledon and then into the summer season on hard courts, where he feels he has a much better chance of competing for titles. His main goal in Paris was better preparation for matches and learning more about the condition of his knee in best-of-five-set matches.
Players typically withdraw from Grand Slam tournaments only because of current injuries or illnesses, and not as a precautionary measure to be fit for a different event. However, at age 39 and after two knee surgeries, Federer’s priorities are clear.
He will next compete in the Halle Open, which begins the day after the men’s final at the French Open on June 14. By not competing during the second week in Paris, he has given himself the best chance of being ready for that event.
In the lower half of the men’s draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev will meet in the quarterfinals after establishing a new chapter in their refreshingly contentious rivalry with routine straight-set victories. Tsitsipas comfortably defeated 12th seed Pablo Carreño Busta 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, while Medvedev edged out 22nd seed Cristian Garin 6-2, 6-1, 7-5.
Aside from Rafael Nadal, Tsitsipas has been the standout player on clay this year, winning his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo while compiling a consistent swing on clay. Meanwhile, Medvedev entered Roland Garros having lost in the first round on the previous four occasions.
Few people gave Medvedev a chance to survive to the quarterfinals, and most will continue to heavily favor Tsitsipas in their round of 16 match. Yet while Tsitsipas remains the likely bottom-half first-time finalist, Medvedev has thrived in Paris with heavy balls and warm conditions, giving him the best chance of success.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism